Strong opinions, lightly held

The realities of Scottish sport facility funding

So, you want funding for a sport facility in Scotland?

Here’s a couple of things you need to know:

Reality #1 — sportscotland will only fund up to 50% of a facility build or upgrade. Governing bodies are strapped for cash so you’re lucky if you get the other 50% (or any funds at all) from them.

To complete the funding puzzle you’ll need support from funders like of The Robertson Trust, BIG Lottery and Scottish Government.

Reality #2 — funders don’t care about sport. They care about what sport can do to solve the our societies biggest problems.

That’s why you have to start with why.

To paraphrase Simon Sinek,

People don’t support what you do, they support why you do it.

Answering the Why? question can be frustrating and time consuming but without clarity now, you’ll spend hours wasting time later.

Why is not about improving performance or increasing participation. Those are results. Why is about having a purpose or belief. Without one, you’ll never pull together the match funding and volunteer support you need to make a community facility viable.

Sport for change

Sport in Scotland is undergoing a change. Sport for its own sake is not enough anymore.

Growing participation is great. Your governing body and sportscotland will applaud you for getting more people active. But for other funders it simply isn’t enough. They’ll want to know what problems you are solving and what changes you are creating in the lives of local people.

How will you use sport to create change?


Most sports organisations start with what they do — “our club provides coaching for kids”, “we offer opportunities to play the game we love”.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t speak the language of funders or tickle the emotions of potential supporters.

Organisations like sported, SENSCOT and The Robertson Trust want to know what impact you will make in the world (they don’t particularly care what sport you play….).

More info

  • Start with why, Ted Talk by Simon Sinek
  • Join the SENSCOT sport network
  • Check out sported and apply for membership
Simon Turner